Workers Compensation

Workers Compensation Newsletters

Jones Act of 1920

The purpose of the Jones Act of 1920, also known as the Merchant Marine Act, is to provide compensation for seamen who have been injured in the course of their employment. Like the Federal Employers’ Liability Act for railroad workers, the Jones Act is an alternative to traditional workers’ compensation statutes. The Jones Act allows an injured seaman to pursue a negligence action against his employer for money damages that represent, among other things, lost wages, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. Should the injury result in the seaman’s death, the Jones Act also authorizes an action by the seaman’s personal representative, with any damages recovered going to the seaman’s spouse, children, or parents as the case may be.

Military Service and Social Security Benefits

An individual serving in the military pays Social Security taxes just as civilian employees do. For 2004, when a person earns $ 3,600 they have earned one year of work credit toward qualification for social security benefits. The benefit amount that a person receives is tied to the amount of his earnings, which are averaged over his working lifetime.

Refusal of Employment as Employer Defense

Workers’ compensation disability benefits are payable based on the nature of the employee’s work-related injury or illness and the employee’s corresponding lack of earning capacity. When an employee can return to work, his disability benefit payments will cease. In some instances, an employee’s benefits are based on his inability to obtain work due to his condition. However, employers may counter that the fault lies with the employee, not his condition, because the employee has unreasonably refused to engage in suitable work. For example, an employer may prevail when an employee refuses a lighter work position offered by his employer. The employer carries the burden of demonstrating that the employee possesses the ability to perform the offered position.

What is a Social Security “Disability?”

A "disability," as far as the receipt of social security benefits is concerned, is not defined the same as for other programs. Social security disability benefits are only paid for total disability; the complete inability to work is the benchmark. At its essence, a person is disabled under the Social Security Act if he is unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity due to a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that has lasted or is expected to last for twelve months or that results or is expected to result in death. A disability can result from either a physical or mental impairment, or a combination of impairments.

Workers’ Compensation & SSDI

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